The investigation into the E. coli O111 outbreak that has sickened at least 13 people in Minnesota has reportedly expanded with two cases in two other unnamed states, according to communications between NBC News reporter JoNel Aleccia and a spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC has declined to identify the two additional states until health officials can confirm the link between those cases and the Minnesota outbreak cluster. The agency is assisting the other two states with their investigations. The E. coli strain involved in the Minnesota outbreak also appears to not genetically match anything yet seen in the CDC’s national pathogen database, PulseNet. The pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern is new to the agency, the spokeswoman said. The Minnesota Department of Health originally reported the outbreak of 13 cases on Monday. Because the cases don’t all share an obvious commonality, officials believe the outbreak was caused by a “widely distributed food item.” Seven of the 13 people sickened reported eating at Applebee’s restaurants in the state between June 24 and 27. But the other six cases have no apparent connection to the restaurant chain. Applebee’s restaurants in Minnesota have fully complied with the health investigation, removing their Oriental Chicken Salad and related ingredients from menus as a cautionary measure. Health officials have not determined the exact source of the outbreak and have not suggested that anything from Applebee’s is definitively the cause. E. coli O111 is a harmful and potentially deadly strain of E. coli related to the more widely known E. coli O157:H7. Symptoms of infection include stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, which can be bloody in severe infections. Minnesota health officials are asking anyone who believes they fell ill with an E. coli infection and ate at an Applebee’s restaurant after June 20 to contact a healthcare provider and inform them of their possible connection to this outbreak.